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Plea entered in rape case

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POSTED: October 13, 2007 5:05 a.m.
Wayne Thompson, 42, pleaded  guilty to aggravated assault Thursday at the Long County Courthouse.
According to Ludowici Police  Sgt. Sal Genualdi, the Ludowici man had been charged with the rape of a local woman on May 6, 2006, on a dirt road in the southside area of town.  
Thompson had been arrested on May 7 and had been incarcerated every since.
Facing a charge of rape, Thompson decided to plead guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault, and was given a 10-year straight- time sentence.
Superior Court Judge Robert Russell accepted an “Alford Plea” of guilty from Thompson, and then gave the court and Thompson a brief description of what the plea meant.
Russell said the plea is based on the case of Alford verses North Carolina, where the defendant claimed he wasn’t guilty of the crime, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge for fear of being found guilty of the indicated charge, and then being sentenced to a harsher penalty.  
Henceforth, the decision to plead guilty is in the best interest of the defendant in the case.
Russell reiterated to Thompson throughout the plea hearing that if he did not want to plead guilty to aggravated assault, he was presumed innocent, and a jury was established and ready to hear the trial regarding the rape charge.
After the plea and sentencing, Russell brought the jury in, thanked them for their service, and then dismissed them.
After the trial, Thompson said, “I don't feel I was treated right in this trial or this case. I wasn't guilty, but I took the lesser charge because I felt it was my best option.”
The victim said, “I’m happy with the verdict. I am not happy that he doesn’t have to register as a sex offender when he gets out, but at least he’s in jail for 10 years.”
According to Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles, who serves on the Georgia State Board of Corrections, Thompson will have to register as a sex offender once he completes his sentence and is paroled by the state.
 

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